when you fall asleep writing a title and hit publish on accident

One day, my memory will be even worse. And I will be the lady with the cats and the books and the unruly garden, living on spinach dip and tortilla chips and feeding Dave TV dinners.

So, I started recording myself.


Because I have thoughts. Many of them. And I can’t write them down legibly fast enough.

I have an app on my phone called “Tape a Talk” which is far better for everyone than the old write and drive. Oh yes, with my eyes on the road . . . and yes, sometimes I couldn’t read it. Thoughts always come to me when I am driving.

Maybe because I used to do so much of it — driving. Hours and hours. For years. But for some beautiful, unselfish reason, my husband does most of the driving now.  He manages to get one to practice on one end of town, take the other two to work out with him on the other end of town, and go back to pick the other one up. Drives them to the bus. Picks them up from football games . . .

I know. I am utterly spoiled.

Anyway, I’m listening to one of my recordings, (which is a whole lot like listening to my sister’s voice messages — our voices are practically twins) and — now remember, I am only talking to myself. There is NO one to interrupt my thoughts — I’m chatting away on the recording and suddenly, for no conceivable reason:

loooooooonggg pause

“There was something I was just now thinking of . . .”

“ummm . . .”

“I can’t remember what it is.”

<<end recording>>

This is a conversation with myself. Out loud. Recorded. 

And there you have it: I get distracted even when I am talking to myself.

But the conversation I had with myself was a good one. I was talking about our kids, and I got a little wistful thinking about how much I loved them from the day they were born, and how love grew as they did, and how now I love them more than I could imagine.


And when I got home, I browsed the photos on my computer and realized our youngest grew up overnight in spite of my watchful eye.

And tonight, on his tip-toes he was taller than me, and my husband said “no” when I wanted him to look, and I suddenly realized why he drives them everywhere . . .

* * * * *

One day, my memory will be even worse. And I will be the lady with the cats and the books and the unruly garden, living on spinach dip and tortilla chips and feeding Dave TV dinners. And our kids will drive me around when they come home, and I will talk to myself . . .

(I’m guessing that will happen in about six years. Or around Christmas.)

And I was reminded of this verse — children are a gift — and I found it attached to the other one that has been nagging at my mind and I realize maybe my memory is not so very bad after all.

Maybe it just needs a little sleep.


* * * * *

It is useless for you to work so hard
from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
for God gives rest to his loved ones.
Children are a gift from the LORD;
they are a reward from him.
Children born to a young man
are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!

Psalm 127:2-5

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he still talks to me: a birthday reflection

Somewhere along the way, someone told me that if I took the time to listen to my kids when they were little, they would still talk to me when they were older.

I’m not always the best listener. My mind is always full of story and music. I have to stop the noise to hear.

But 17 years ago today, God gave us our second child — a little boy who learned to talk before he walked and was always full of words.

Maybe because his big sister “read” to him. Maybe because he read to himself. Calvin baby reading newspaper 001

Thoughts and ideas came out the moment he could form the words to speak them.

“I know a idea,” he would say.

And, “Dat be fun, mom? Dat be fun?” He would say, half — I think  — to see if I was listening. Sometimes, I admit, I wasn’t.

Some of my favorite conversations in these verbal explorations, were Calvin’s talks with his great-great grandma.

He was 2 1/2 and she was 98. She repeated things and he was happy to listen: “I’m going to take you back to my farm in Texas,” she would say. And he would play along, “Do you have cows?” And she would say, “We just have cotton.” Around and around.

Calvin age 2 chatting with grandma Bolton 001

Look at their sweet hands. They had all the time in the world to listen to each other. And neither cared if or what the other repeated. A perfect, beautiful match.

* * * * *

Somewhere along the way, someone told me that if I took the time to listen to my kids when they were little, they would still talk to me when they were older.

It was really hard. Four of them all at once sometimes. And I failed to stop, focus, and really listen time and again. But by God’s grace, they kept talking, and became skilled at getting my attention. Baby number four would hold my face in his hands to make sure I was listening.

“This family needs a talking stick,” I remember hearing from a teacher. “Everyone in this house has something to say.”

They did. And sometimes, they were things I needed to hear. Yes, I was still the parent. And yes, there were times I had to ask them to be still. And yes, sometimes be still was yelled in impatience . . .

But other times, when I listened, I heard unexpected whispers of truth.

One time, when our family was homeless, and jobless, and new to Washington and staying with gracious friends for months, and we had a car accident, and our money ran out, and we were praying for a home and job and everything we could think to pray, I loaded the kids up and drove through the countryside, and warm October sunshine filled our van. And my four-year-old-who-is-now-seventeen asked all the questions in the world. And I answered distractedly, caught up in my own questions of God.matthew 21 verse

A song came on the radio and went like this,

By a roadway in the wilderness, He’ll lead me
Rivers in the desert will I see

Behind my seat, my boy’s deep little four-year-old voice asked yet another question, “We’re in a desert, aren’t we mommy?”

Amazed, I pulled out of my thoughts and listened to the song, and hope washed over me.

“Yes, we are baby.”

And God will make a way. 

* * * * *

As much as I failed to listen perfectly, I must have listened often enough to this boy. He still tells me his ideas and plans, just like he did when he was four. His head is full of stories and music, too . . .

And you know, I’m still learning how to listen.

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